Hospital staff wants clear policy for mouthcaps

Hospital workers should in principle always wear mouthcaps and only deviate from them if they themselves consider it responsible. Five trade unions in healthcare and the Patient Federation Netherlands ask hospitals in an open letter to introduce this as a guideline everywhere. They believe that hospital staff should in all cases have personal protective equipment at their disposal.

The professional organisations state in their letter that there is now no clear standard for the use of mouthcaps and that employees and patients are confused about it. Stories of their members flow in daily.

Mask on, mask off

โ€œ In some contacts between patient and health care provider, according to current guidelines, mouth nose masks are not required. But even when it is necessary, care staff do not need to wear a mask in the hallway. In the patient or in the lab, put on your mask, at the coffee machine your mask off. As if the virus behaves differently a few meters away,โ€ says in the letter.

What is

more confusing is that soon a mouthcap will be mandatory in all indoor public spaces, whereas in the hospital it will depend on the situation.

The letter is addressed to the Dutch Association of Hospitals (NVZ) and the Dutch Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU), the employers‘ organizations of the hospitals. He is signed by FNV Zorg & Welfare, NU ‘91, CNV Zorg & Welfare, FBZ trade union for healthcare professionals, professional association V&VN and the Patienttenfederation Netherlands.

The signatories believe that safety should be paramount. โ€œThis includes a clear and unambiguous agreement on personal protective equipment.โ€ The hospitals now have a directive drawn up in consultation with the Federation of Medical Specialists, but it leaves too much room for their own interpretation in the eyes of the letterwriters.

They prefer hospitals to follow the nursing home guidelines. In this case, care staff always wear a mask preventively, unless the employee thinks it is responsible and necessary to deviate from it.

According to the Ministry of VWS, there are enough protective equipment, so according to the unions that can no longer be a hindrance. โ€œHospital administrators, what are you waiting for? There is not a day to lose in the fight against coronaโ€, concludes the letter.

Own policy

In a response, the Dutch Association of Hospitals says that it only has an advisory role. Each hospital has the right to make its own policy on wearing mouthnose masks. They have the freedom to deviate from the guidelines at their own discretion.